Banish the January blues with community cash

People with financial worries could benefit from a new round of community funding in our region.

We're committed to helping customers understand financial matters and money management and have teamed up with the Quartet Community Foundation to deliver the Money Matters awards scheme.

Money Matters awards are open to debt advice agencies, schools, colleges, charities and community organisations. Grants of up to £5,000 are available, with all applications considered by a panel of experts.

Among the beneficiaries in 2018 was Citizens Advice Bournemouth and Poole, which delivered 'budget coach' appointments to help people avoid falling back into debt.

The sessions highlighted how easy it is to switch utility and insurance providers to ensure customers are always on the best deals.

Hope Housing, Training and Support, also in Bournemouth, offered tailored assistance for people directly affected by homelessness, helping them move forward to independent living.

And Bournemouth's Cherry Tree Nursery used Money Matters to 'buy in' the services of a disability rights adviser from Citizens Advice for six months, who raised awareness of benefits that may be available to people affected by mental health issues.

Elsewhere, Bristol's Centre for Sustainable Energy used the Money Matters funding for its freephone advice line and One Worry Less scheme, which supports lone-parent households to improve their financial capability and avoid fuel and water debt.

And Our Way Our Say in Weston-super-Mare ran cooking classes for low-income families, showing them how to cook healthy meals from scratch on a budget.

Joanna Hughes, Wessex Water's social policy manager, said: "Our last batch of awards helped to support some fantastic activities in Bournemouth, Bristol and Weston-super-Mare.

"Money Matters grants help people improve their financial confidence and capability, and we're delighted to work with Quartet Community Foundation to support further projects and help more customers in our region."

We were the first water company to introduce a formal social tariff based on customers' ability to pay - part of our tailored assistance programme (TAP).

The deadline for Money Matters applications is Sunday 10 February. Apply online at quartetcf.org.uk